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Foundation Truth, Number 12 (Summer 2005) | Timeless Truths Publications
The Battle of the Atlantic

In the contest between the Allied and Axis powers in World War II, a great battle developed over the supply lines which crossed the Atlantic Ocean. The Allies’ ships brought both the military supplies and the essentials of life to Europe, most particularly from the United States to Britain. Against the supply lines were pitted the U-boats, surface raiders (battleships, cruisers and other warships), and airplanes of Hitler’s Germany, in an ongoing effort to sink the ships that were carrying the supplies before they could bring them to their destination. This great conflict became known as “The Battle of the Atlantic.”

For a long time, the ships were sunk much faster than they could be built, not only preventing the immediate supplies needed from reaching their destinations in the quantities needed, but threatening to destroy the ability to supply at all. First the British, and then later the Americans, thought they had the problem in hand, but discovered they hadn’t, and had to learn various ways to overcome this opposition and keep the lifeline going. They armed the merchant ships, and used escort vessels with guns and depth charges, and equipped them with ASDIC (an early form of underwater detection, similar to SONAR used later). They grouped the ships into convoys, protected by groups of armed escorts. Wherever possible, they provided support with aircraft, also equipped with depth charges. They sought to break the secret code in which messages were sent to and from the U-boat commanders, and they re-routed convoys to avoid areas where U-boats were known to be. Finally, the industry of the United States and Britain was focused to build ships faster than they could be sunk.

The enemy never gave up, and each time some improvement in defenses was developed, a way to overcome the new defense was sought. The U-boats would move to new locations, to attack where the convoys could not be protected by airplanes, and they formed in groups called “Wolf Packs” to break into large convoys. In the end, only constant effort and vigilance made possible the victory.

Friends, this is not at all unlike the battle against our life-line to the Lord. How many strategies the enemy of our soul has to cut off our prayer and meditation upon God’s Word! How cunning and merciless He is. But our Lord’s “intelligence” of enemy movements is perfect, and if we are diligent to mind the checks and receive His corrections in our “movements,” He will enable us to keep the lifeline open.

In Hinds’ Feet on High Places, an allegory of Hannah Hurnard’s own spiritual journey to the “high places,” we find the following conversation between Much-Afraid and the Shepherd:

“Shepherd,” asked Much-Afraid earnestly, “tell me why I nearly got into Pride’s clutches again, and why Resentment, Bitterness, and Self-Pity have been able to pester me for so long in this dreadful way. I did not call you before, because they never dared to come close to me or to make a real attack, but they have been lurking around all the time and making their horrible suggestions, and I couldn’t get away from them. Why was it?”

“I think,” said the Shepherd gently, “that lately the way seemed a little easier and the sun shone, and you came to a place where you could rest. You forgot for a while that you were my little handmaiden Acceptance-with-Joy and were beginning to tell yourself it really was time that I led you back to the mountains and up to the High Places. When you wear the weed of impatience in your heart instead of the flower Acceptance-with-Joy, you will always find your enemies get an advantage over you.”

[Hannah Hurnard; Hinds’ Feet on High Places (Copyright 1975 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.)]

The Lord will show us, if we seek His help, the places that our “convoys” need re-routing, and when we need to make greater efforts to build the supply line. In my own life, the Lord shows me when things are draining away my spiritual appetite or places where traps are laid for my soul. If you and I place no confidence in our own wisdom, and pay close attention to our Lord’s direction, we will prosper and win the victory!